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Get with the program or you're divisive

Senator Obama, whose own church seems quite ready to accentuate differences, repeats the common goodthinker’s complaint that

Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart.

The change is not so mysterious. In the 60s or thereabouts governing elites decisively rejected their residual connection to traditional Christianity, at bottom in the interests of a purer form of technocratic rule. The school prayer and abortion decisions mark the transition: the public order became purely secular and self-contained, and the value of human life became a matter of will, utility and technique. Once those things had happened any assertion of traditional views in public life became, from the official point of view, ipso facto heretical and schismatic (in current language, “extremist and divisive”). Average Americans became antisocial radicals if they just stayed what they had always been and continued to present their views in public. That’s why the divisive forces Senator Obama worries about suddenly appeared in our public life.